Phase One of Central Square Mural Project Comes to an End

Zoe Fritz-Sherman, Contributing Writer

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On Sunday, December 9th, artists put the finishing touches on their murals as the first phase of the Central Square Mural Project came to a close. Since the summer of 2017, nine new murals have been painted in Central Square as part of a campaign to add works of public art to the neighborhood. With themes ranging from feminism to immigration, the exhibitions help to celebrate Central Square’s diversity and to revitalize old works of street art.

According to project organizer Mike Monestime, “At the beginning, people were worried it was going to be more status quo art, but we did stuff that was bold, new, and different. They’re not traditional Cambridge-style murals. They’re a new wave of street art.” The murals produced by the artists center around themes that are at the heart of what makes Central Square so unique. All of the murals touch on motifs of diversity, acceptance, and a celebration of culture.

In order for the project to portray Monestime’s message of the Central Square community, Monestime had criteria for selecting potential artists. It was important to him that the artists were local. In addition, Monestime did not just involve professional artists in the project; aspiring artists age eight to eighteen from the Community Art Center also had the chance to paint a mural.

We want to introduce new, large-scale works of art into the community.”

The Mural Project received some pushback from the City of Cambridge but garnered support from numerous local business owners who offered up their walls. The project was also stunted by the cold and rain in October and November, which interfered with the creation of the murals. Despite the delay, Monestime remained positive. “This campaign taught me that you have to be flexible,” he explained. “There are a lot of moving parts. To make big things happen, you have to deal with some setbacks.”

The nine murals that are up are currently only the first phase of the project. In the spring, five new murals will be introduced. “The overall goal is to celebrate Central Square’s rich cultural diversity.” Monestime reflected. “We want to introduce new, large-scale works of art into the community.”

The Central Square Mural Project hasn’t gone unnoticed; in fact, it has attracted the attention of many who live in the area. “[The murals] kind of just popped up one day,” Rayna McElhiney ’19 noted. “They give a very artistic feel, bringing back the old Central Square artistic vibe. They bring Central Square back to life.”

 

This piece also appears in our December 2018 print edition.